Smart window photovoltaic concentrator for energy generation and solar control

Salas castillo, Manlio (2021) Smart window photovoltaic concentrator for energy generation and solar control. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Central to the global mission on reducing societies carbon footprint is the commitment of governments and international institutions to set energy reduction targets. In this regard, buildings are responsible for large energy loads. Due to the necessity to create thermal and visual comfort, vast energy is consumed to satisfy internal cooling, heating, and lighting loads. The two main strategies to reduce buildings energy consumption are renewable energy technologies and energy efficient building planning. Building Integrated PV systems (BIPV) are devices capable to generate electricity while replacing building materials and reduce electricity costs, protect the building from weather acting as a building envelope and offering aesthetically pleasing features to the building. Windows play key role in the building energy consumption allowing for sunlight and heat to enter the building. Some commercial technologies offer solar control functions using reversible photochromic, thermochromic or electrochromic mechanisms. However, only few offer an automated system able to respond to dynamic changes of the environment while producing onsite energy.

The research presented in this thesis covers the details of the design and development of a novel lightweight solar concentrator for “smart window” applications. The smart window design was conceived to automatically control the solar radiation entering buildings and generate clean electricity at the same time, thus compensating artificial lighting, cooling, and heating loads.

To achieve the dual functionality of the smart window two novel thermotropic membranes were developed and characterised using two gelling agents and 3 polymers. Transmittance levels of 95% in clear state and 40% when in light scattering state were achieved. A ray tracing model was validated against experimental indoor tests with 8% deviation. Indoor tests comparing between 2% wt. HPC & 1.5 % wt. GGF and 6% wt. HPC & 1.5 % wt. GGF membranes reported efficiency values of 3.7% and 5.1% and MPP values of 0.018W and 0.024W, respectively. Outdoor tests showed that the automated solar control function allows sunlight to pass through the smart window during the morning and the evening hours but block the sun when irradiation levels surpass 600 W/m2. The study concludes, however, that in order to produce a more efficient device the membrane reflectivity of the smart window should be close to 90%.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Wu, Yupeng
Liu, Hao
Keywords: solar energy, solar concentrator, smart windows
Subjects: T Technology > TH Building construction
T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery > TJ807 Renewable energy sources
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
Item ID: 65892
Depositing User: Salas Castillo, Manlio
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2023 07:34
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2023 07:34

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